Retail Media

eBay advertising grows 23% as promoted listings surge

CEO Jamie Iannone outlined upgrades to the marketplace's advertising products.

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eBay is continuing to advance advertising, as the fast growth of promoted listings is helping to boost revenue.

The marketplace offers the latest evidence that retail media is growing rapidly as advertisers seek new avenues to reach consumers directly within platforms in the fallout from privacy-oriented changes that impacted performance marketing on social media platforms. Increasingly, the platforms where products are sold that are also the recipients of advertising spend, as they harness first-party data to reach shoppers while they are in the act of buying.

In the first quarter of 2023, eBay’s advertising results showed the following:

Overall advertising revenue was up 23% year-over-year to $317 million.

First-party advertising revenue, driven by promoted listings, grew 31% to to $285 million.

Over 2 million sellers adopted single ad products, while live promoted listings grew to 750 million.

Advertising accounts for 1.7% of gross merchandise volume (GMV), and outpaced volume by 33 percentage points. It was the third straight quarter that advertising outpaced volume.“

We continue to think we have a long runway ahead of us for advertising,” eBay CEO Jamie Iannone told analysts on Wednesday.

Here’s a look at the latest updates on advertising from eBay:


eBay’s cost per action (CPA) product remains the largest contributor to advertising growth, Iannone said. In the first quarter, the company rolled out a new machine learning model for ranking these ads.

“This ranking model also enables us to evaluate the expected performance of multiple ad products alongside each other rather than making ad-serving decisions in silos,” Iannone said. “This change will be beneficial as we continue to expand our multiproduct advertising portfolio.”

Promoted Listings

Ads that elevate listings to highly visible locations within the marketplace and search results are gaining momentum on eBay. These grew in the “mid-single-digits” over the quarter, Iannone said.

This was led by the more recently launched Promoted Listings Advanced, which is a cost per click (CPC) ad product. Along with being woven into more ad services, this format also saw a new quick setup tool, and received an upgrade to the relevance model during the quarter.

“That helped us present higher quality impressions and more GMV for the same number of impressions on the site,” Iannone said of the relevance model. “We also expanded CPC to the second row of ad placements within search results, which was previously only available to CPA. So it's still early in our CPC development. We're excited about these innovations.”

What's the return?

Iannone outlined the business model behind advertising at eBay. It’s a variable model, in which sellers can set their rates.

“We're seeing really good ROAS for our sellers. So when we look at the return on ad spend that they're seeing, once they start using our ad products, their sales are basically seeing a double-digit increase. And more importantly, when you look at the ROAS that they can get on eBay, it's very attractive relative to industry standards,” Iannone said.

eBay will continue to build new products for advertising, as well as reporting tools.

“We feel like we're doing a nice job of balancing the buying experience and keeping that incredibly healthy and strong conversion while continuing to drive our ads business. And finally, we're just making the product easier to use,” Iannone said.

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